07/30/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/30/2021 06:33
Photo by:New Jersey Air National Guard/Master Sgt. Matt Hecht
With just one day to spare, Congress approved a $2.1 billion emergency funding bill that includes a $521 million bailout for the National Guard to cover its costs related to five months of securing the U.S. Capitol.
For months, DoD and Guard officials had warned Congress that money spent deploying troops to Washington, D.C., had been intended for summer training and drills. Without reimbursement, the readiness of National Guard forces would decline, and some Guard members would lose money by not attending drills or training and some would lose retirement credit for missing drill requirements.
The Pentagon warned cuts would begin Aug. 1 if Congress didn't step in to help. The House and Senate passed the emergency funding on July 29. The votes were overwhelming at a time when lawmakers are divided over so many issues. The Senate approved the emergency spending bill in a 98-0 vote, followed by a 416-11 vote in the House of Representatives.
The Guard mission at the Capitol began Jan. 6 and ended May 26. At its peak, about 26,000 troops were deployed.
The funding situation was becoming so desperate that DoD proposed reprogramming money from facility maintenance and other lower priority projects to cover the Guard's expenses, a move opposed by many lawmakers because that would take money away from projects in their districts.
The White House, which strongly endorsed the Guard funding, said the $521 million reimbursement is enough to cover expenses through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.